Hi everyone and welcome to my letter K post in the #AtoZChallenge. I focus my challenge posts on aromatherapy. Today, I want to talk about how to keep your essential oils safe.
First, essential oils, unlike carrier oils, don’t go rancid. This, however, doesn’t mean that they last indefinitely.
After all, essential oils may change composition under the influence of air, temperature and (sun)light. By this I mean that some components of the essential oil will start to evaporate and the concentration of others might increase. One study even found that, after exposure to ultraviolet light (such as rays of sunlight), an essential oil may start to contain components that weren’t in the oil before. In other words, it is no longer the same oil.
It is therefore recommended that you keep your essential oils away from direct light. I have a container with space for each bottel of essential oil and I keep the lid closed when not using it. Also do keep your essential oils away from sources of heat, such as the radiator. It may even be recommended to keep your essential oils in the fridge during the hot months. Lastly, screw the lid tightly onto your essential oil bottles when not in use, because oxygen in air can damage your oils too.
How long will essential oils last? It depends on the oil. For example, citrus essential oils are the most volatile and can be used about two to three years after opening. Other oils, such as clary sage, are much more stable.
The only surefire way of knowing whether your oil is still of good quality, is to retest it. Since this isn’t really possible for consumers, I recommend replacing your essential oils every several years. Don’t pour essential oils down the drain or throw them in the garbage. Rather, get them to the chemical waste depot.